When we voted in the 2000 primaries for John McCain, what were we thinking?
Six years earlier, I had completed a twenty-year career serving alongside troops with last names of Hardy, Preston, Mendoza, Price, Jackson, DeLuca, Rose, Houseworth, Muess, Stevens, Smith, Tester, Burks, Butts, Taylor, Ortiz, and Rosenberg, sergeants and officers who led by example, inspiring all around them to lean into our nation’s defense.
In 1994, I stopped dragging my wife all over the world far away from her family, leaving her to fend for herself at each new duty station, and working 100-hour workweeks, away altogether all too often. Patty also loves our country, it had been our honor to do, yet it was time to go home.
Civilian life and peace was our new normal until September 11.
That day, another great soldier I had once worked with was stopping by his Pentagon office, just 19 days short of completing a 30-year Army career himself. At the same time, Patty’s brother was leading firefighters to the 78th floor of the South Tower. Their graves are less than 30 minutes apart, fast as a 757 can fly.
Just down the road a piece from where we live, 40 more angels fought, died, and won the first battle of the War on Terror.
Many have followed, fought bravely, served magnificently, gave all or endured pain and maiming, and still serve at the pointy end of the sword. We salute them, pray for them, and thank them.
Yet since 9/11, John McCain viciously smeared Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, gave Constitutional rights to terrorists, characterized waterboarding — the causing of but a few of the senior-most al Qaeda terrorists to wet themselves in fear and to talk — as torture, and left our borders wide open.
Patty and I will not vote for John McCain in 2008, his campaign promises of both 2000 and 2008 ring hollow in our ears. We have our heroes and, sadly, we no longer count him among them.